Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

White House rhetoric is important in forming foreign policy opinions

Date:
December 1, 2009
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
Researchers have found that foreign policy explanations from presidential administrations that are plainly stated and easier to understand are likely to receive public support, while policy explanations that are complicated and convoluted are likely to face greater public skepticism.

Surveys have shown that the public pays little attention to foreign policy, but politicians regularly cite the importance of public support for military actions overseas. Now, a new study has found that these responses may be heavily influenced by White House rhetoric.

Related Articles


University of Missouri researchers have found that foreign policy explanations from presidential administrations that are plainly stated and easier to understand are likely to receive public support, while policy explanations that are complicated and convoluted are likely to face greater public skepticism.

"Many analyses have shown that the public pays little attention to foreign policy," said Cooper Drury, associate professor of political science in the College of Arts and Science and editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy Analysis. "While well-informed citizens are likely to evaluate the policy for what it is, a majority of Americans will buy what the White House sells them. If the president is able to define an intervention in simple, compelling terms, he is likely to get considerably more support from the public."

In the study, researchers distributed four different mock news stories that were formatted to look like a New York Times article printed from the internet and surveyed participants' opinions of the policy. The articles described a conflict between two fictitious countries in Latin America. In simple terms, the first article described a policy that aimed to stop aggression, and the second article described the same policy in complex terms. The third article described a policy of "nation building" in simple terms, and the fourth article described that policy in complex terms.

The results of the study demonstrated that Americans who pay attention to the news are better able to prudently evaluate a foreign policy, while those Americans who tend to ignore political news are heavily swayed by what the White House tells them. Reading or watching the news allows citizens to evaluate what the president says rather than just accept the bill of goods, Drury said.

"Presidents have a great deal of power to shape public opinion of policy goals that require military action if they have the ability to manipulate the type of language that is used," Drury said. "The public needs to pay attention to the political world around them so that they can cut through the White House's rhetoric and truly evaluate policy."

The study, "'Pretty Prudent' or Rhetorically Responsive? The American Public's Support for Military Action," was published in the Political Research Quarterly. It was co-authored by Drury; L. Marvin Overby; Adrian Ang; and Yitan Li. Drury was recently named editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy Analysis.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "White House rhetoric is important in forming foreign policy opinions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091201111156.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2009, December 1). White House rhetoric is important in forming foreign policy opinions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091201111156.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "White House rhetoric is important in forming foreign policy opinions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091201111156.htm (accessed November 1, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU, Russia, Ukraine Seal Breakthrough Gas Accord

EU, Russia, Ukraine Seal Breakthrough Gas Accord

AFP (Oct. 31, 2014) Russia agrees to resume gas deliveries to war-torn Ukraine through the winter in an EU-brokered, multi-billion dollar deal signed by the three parties in Brussels. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alcoholic Drinks In The E.U. Could Get Calorie Labels

Alcoholic Drinks In The E.U. Could Get Calorie Labels

Newsy (Oct. 31, 2014) A health group in the United Kingdom has called for mandatory calorie labels on alcoholic beverages in the European Union. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Relief After “gas War” Is Averted

Relief After “gas War” Is Averted

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 31, 2014) A gas war between Russia and Ukraine has been averted. But as Hayley Platt reports a deal was only reached after Kiev's western creditors agreed to partly funding the deal. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Malaria Threat in Liberia as Fight Against Ebola Rages

Malaria Threat in Liberia as Fight Against Ebola Rages

AFP (Oct. 31, 2014) Focus on treating the Ebola epidemic in Liberia means that treatment for malaria, itself a killer, is hard to come by. MSF are now undertaking the mass distribution of antimalarials in Monrovia. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins